Whenever you plan a movie night with friends or are going to watch a match in the stadium, what’s the first thing you think of buying? You’re right, it is popcorn. A light and healthy snack, popcorn is a versatile fast food that you can have anytime, anywhere. It is the only low-calorie snack that is even rumored to prevent Cancer! Imagine you’re sitting in your backyard with a bucket of popcorn and suddenly notice your chickens taking a keen interest in it. What would you do?
Can chickens eat popcorn? Yes, chickens can eat popcorn and do so lovingly. These little birds are crazy about corn, and popcorns are members of the same family. As long as popcorn is fed to chickens as a treat, they are going to be okay. Keep in mind that chickens should not eat salted or buttered popcorn. Only feed them plain and unsalted popcorn.
When you have a feathered pet at home, you need to be more careful about their diet. Because of their small size, they are more fragile and, thus, more susceptible to great harm if not fed properly. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about feeding your chickens popcorn the right way.
Do chickens like eating popcorn?
If you’re a new chicken owner, it is natural for you to wonder what and what not do your little pets like. But rest assured, popcorn certainly falls in the list of their likes. Chickens are a sucker for corn, and popcorn is no less than its by-product. What’s not to love? You would seldom find a chicken who says no to popcorn.
Is popcorn healthy for chickens?
So now we know that chickens love munching on popcorn. But does it add to their health? In the case of small pets like chickens, we should always be careful about feeding them healthy things, because even a little amount of unhealthy food can wreak havoc in their fragile immune system.
How do we figure out if popcorn is healthy for chickens? By analyzing what nutrients can they derive from it:
|Total fat||1.3 g|
|Saturated fat||0.2 g|
|Dietary fibers||4.1 g|
Serving size: 1 ounce (about 28 grams)
If you go through the chart carefully, you will notice that although popcorn has no essential vitamin or mineral in a significant amount, it has low saturated fat, no cholesterol, and an abundance of carbohydrates and protein.
What does it mean for your chickens? It means that although chickens cannot depend on popcorn for their daily nutrition, they can certainly eat it as a harmless occasional treat.
How much popcorn should you feed your chicken?
How often do you eat popcorn? Not every day, right? You eat it in moderation like one should eat a snack. That is exactly how you should feed it to your feathered pets.
If you have a group of 4-5 chickens in your backyard, you should scatter a couple of handfuls in their direction once or twice a week, and that’s all.
How to feed chickens popcorn?
Chickens like to eat popped popcorn that is all puffed up, which makes sense. The small, hard kernels of corn would be too difficult to eat for your feathered pets.
When you buy popcorn for yourself, you probably go for pre-popped popcorn. However, these pre-popped popcorns are usually flavored and, thus, unhealthy for your chickens.
To make sure you’re feeding them a healthy snack, you should be careful about three things:
Do not add salt to it
It might sound curious to most chicken-owners since salt is an essential part of a chicken’s diet. It keeps them hydrated and maintains the health of their thyroid. However, the amount of salt these birds need is already included in their daily diet.
Thus, any salt you’re feeding them in their snack becomes surplus. And we all know that too much salt can potentially lead to kidney diseases in chickens.
Avoid adding butter
Most of the chicken-owners might know it already that chickens do not have the enzymes that are required to be able to digest milk or dairy products properly. This is why every time they drink milk they suffer from loose stool.
Butter, being a dairy product, has the same effect on them, which is why the popcorn you feed them must be unbuttered.
Stay away from sweeteners and artificial flavors
In order to sweeten the taste of the popcorn, a little bit of sugar, or other artificial sweeteners are often added to it. While sugar is not unhealthy for us, it is even unhealthier for our feathered pets. Chickens that consume sugar regularly end up becoming obese.
Moreover, too much sugar can also impact their egg production negatively. Most of the artificial flavors contain sugar as well, which is why we recommend you to stay away from both sweeteners as well as artificial flavors while feeding popcorn to your chickens.
Now, you might be wondering what harm could feeding them sweetened popcorn once possibly do. And you’re right, it cannot harm them fatally. However, it will make them picky. Once they have tasted sweetened popcorn, they wouldn’t want to go back to eating plain popcorn.
Is it safe for baby chicks to eat popcorn?
Although chickens grow up into adults in no time, when they are in the process of growing up, you should be extra careful about their diet. They have an even smaller diet in which you must fit in all the nutrients they need. Therefore, giving them any kind of treat at this stage, including popcorn, might not be a good idea.
If you want to feed popcorn to your chickens, your best choice is to wait until they grow up.
Can roosters eat popcorn?
So far in the article, we have talked about chickens eating popcorn, but what about the roosters?
First and foremost, you need to understand that there isn’t much difference between the diet of a chicken and a rooster. What one eats, the other can probably eat as well. The same is true for popcorn as well. If you keep both chickens and roosters in your yard, you can serve them both popcorn indiscriminately.
Growing your own popcorn
Has the thought of growing popcorn ever crossed your mind? There are several advantages of it that can benefit both you as well as your chickens:
- You can have fresh popcorn, which is both healthier and packed with more nutrients, particularly carbohydrates and protein.
- Since the popcorn needn’t go through the entire process of drying, it is softer and, thus, easier to digest.
Can I feed nuts to my chickens?
Yes, you can. Chickens can safely eat a large number of nuts, including walnut, cashews, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, etc. The best way of feeding them nuts is to chop them into small pieces before serving. Just be careful about two things: do not feed them moldy nuts, and keep it in moderation, for nuts are rich in saturated fat that can make your feathered pets obese.
Why are onion and garlic considered toxic to chickens?
Onion and garlic are toxic to chickens because of the presence of a toxic substance in them, known as thiosulphate. If your chickens consume thiosulphate in a large amount, they can possibly suffer from fatal diseases such as anemia or jaundice.
In many cases, it has been known to kill chickens as well. Of the two, onion contains thiosulphate in a larger amount, and is, thus, more harmful to your pet.
Which vegetables are okay to feed chickens?
Following is a list of vegetables that you can feed your chickens safely:
Should I feed citrus fruits to my chickens?
Yes, you can feed citrus fruits to your chickens. However, you might want to be careful about how much of these you’re feeding them. Although these fruits are okay for them if fed moderately, too many fruits can lead to problems.
It is because is citrus is known for interfering with their calcium absorption abilities, and make the shell of their eggs thinner. It can also lessen their egg production altogether. Therefore, it is best to feed them these fruits in moderation.
Conclusion: Can Chickens Eat Popcorn
To sum it up, let us return to our first question: can chickens eat popcorn? Yes, chickens love eating popcorns. When fed in proper moderation, popcorn can make both a healthy and tasty snack for your feathered pets.
Since chickens have loved corn for a long time, popcorn is one of their favorites as well. However, when you’re feeding your pet popcorn, make sure there is no salt, butter, or artificial sweetener in it because all these are bad for their health.